Harriet Heron's life is almost over before it has even begun. At just twenty-three years of age, she is an invalid, over-protected and reclusive. Before it is too late, she must escape the fog of Victorian London for a place where she can breathe.
Together with her devoted mother, Louisa, her god-fearing aunt, Yael, and a book of her own spells inspired by the Egyptian Book of the Dead, Harriet travels to a land where the air is tinged with rose and gold and for the first time begins to experience what it is to live. But a chance meeting on the voyage to Alexandria results in a dangerous friendship as Louisa's long-buried past returns, in the form of someone determined to destroy her by preying upon her daughter.
As Harriet journeys towards a destiny no one could have foreseen, her aunt Yael is caught up in an Egypt on the brink of revolt and her mother must confront the spectres of her own youth.
Award-winning journalist and writer Wendy Wallace spins a tale of three women caught between propriety and love on a journey of cultural awakening through an exquisitely drawn Egypt. In prose both sumptuous and mesmeric, she conjures a sensibility akin to that of E M Forster and Merchant Ivory.
Wendy Wallace, author of The Painted Bridge, is an award-winning freelance journalist and writer. Before she turned to fiction, she was a senior features writer for the London Times Educational Supplement for ten years and the author of a nonfiction book on life in an inner city primary school, Oranges and Lemons. Her second novel is The Sacred River. She lives in London.